How To Play Arcana Heart 3 – Part 1: Choosing A Character & Arcana

By James Xie - PR Coordinator, Aksys Games . April 18, 2011 . 6:09pm

< Spencer’s note: To help familiarize readers with Arcana Heart 3 we invited James Xie from Aksys to give us an in-depth look at the game’s fighting system. >


Arcana Heart 3 is a relatively easy game to pick up and play, but there are a few concepts that are incredibly different from your average fighting game. In this series, we’ll learn about these concepts and become awesome Arcana Heart 3 players!


Getting Started – Choosing a Character



First and foremost, before you can play Arcana Heart 3, you need to pick a character! Most characters in Arcana Heart 3 are quite different from characters you have played in any other fighting game, so it is best to take it slow and experiment until you find a character that you like. While I am a firm believer that character love triumphs all, there are those out there who would prefer to have some information and like to make guided choices. Well, for you guys, here’s a quick primer on the characters in Arcana Heart 3:


Balanced: A balanced character in Arcana Heart 3 is a character with no particular weaknesses and has a full range of useful offensive and defensive tools and can be easily complemented by any Arcana. Try one of these characters out if you have absolutely no idea where to start. Balanced characters include Heart, Saki, Elsa, Akane, and Weiss.



In-Fighter: An In-Fighter character in Arcana Heart 3 is more of a with exceptional offensive or mobility tools for fighting up close, often at the cost of other offensive or defensive options. One of these characters may be a good choice for you if you like high speed combat or just enjoy the thrill of getting up close and personal. In-Fighter characters include Zenia, Mei Fang, Lilica, Angelia, and Konoha.




Out-Fighter: An Out-Fighter character in Arcana Heart 3 is a character with either great range on normal attacks or powerful long ranged special attacks. They are characters that can completely outclass others at mid or long range, but may become outclassed themselves at close range due to various other weaknesses. An Out-Fighter type may suit you if you prefer taking a tactical approach to fighting or if you just like being able to out range your adversary. Out-Fighter characters include Kamui, Clarice, Maori, Nazuna, Petra, and Scharlachrot.



Unique: A unique character in Arcana Heart 3 is a character that is not really characterized by any real category and can only be understood after first-hand experience. Pick one of these characters if conventional game play just doesn’t excite you anymore. Unique characters include Yoriko, Kira, Catherine, Liselotte, Dorthy, and Eko.




Step Two – Choosing an Arcana

Wait, I still can’t even play yet? That’s right; you’re still not ready to play yet, because you haven’t picked out an Arcana for your character yet! Along with choosing one of the 23 characters, you need to choose an Arcana to go along with it. Your choice of Arcana will modify your character a great deal, which includes, but is not limited to, increasing or decreasing maximum health, granting passive attributes, and access to new special attacks. With that much in mind, it is also tough to pick out the perfect Arcana without some experimentation, but for those would once again prefer a guided approach, here’s a primer on the different Arcana:



Balanced Arcana: A Balanced Arcana is one that is well rounded and can basically be chosen for nearly any character and will complement any character on a very basic level by giving tools for both offense and defense. A Balanced Arcana is once again a good choice for those just starting out and have no idea what to do. Balanced Arcana include: Love, Light, Ice, Holy, Fire, and Time.




Offensive Arcana: An Offensive Arcana is one that is mostly used to complement your character’s ability to attack directly or create mix-ups. Choose an Offensive Arcana if you feel that your character doesn’t have enough offensive power alone or if you feel like the best defense is a good offense. Offensive Arcana include: Darkness, Evil, Nature, Sound, Tyr, and Fenrir.



Defensive Arcana: A Defensive Arcana is one that primarily complements your character’s defensive options and/or passive defensive options. This is not to say that they can’t be used for offense at all, as many of them also have useful offensive tools, but their ability to aid a character’s defensive options definitely stands out among other Arcana. Choose a Defensive Arcana if you feel that your character is particularly weak on defense, or if you feel that having more defensive options is an integral part of your play style. Defensive Arcana include: Blossoms, Water, Wind, Lightning, and Earth.



Technical Arcana: A Technical Arcana is one that has very different properties and is often used for very specific reasons. They things they are able to do are quite crazy, so they are definitely Arcana that you need to choose once before any sort of understand sets in. A Technical Arcana is a good choice if you want your character to play quite different from someone who plays the same character, but a more simple Arcana. Technical Arcana include Metal, Magnetism, Mirrors, Luck, Punishment, and Sin.




Closing – Wait, I thought we were going to play!

Sorry, but that’s just about all the time we have for today. Tune in tomorrow for when we explain how to actually start playing the game!




Part two is up! The guide continues with How to play Arcana Heart 3 – Part 2: Basic Movement.

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  • God, i want this game so much T_T, come on Aksys, give siliconera 1 psn code for the game D:

  • MrSirFeatherFang

    Thanks for this, I am pretty excited that Aksys picked this up :)
    Though I totally suck at fighting games, but I love playing them and I even got a HRAP 3 SA lol. I haven’t put enough effort or the time in any fighter and I’m not sure I ever will or can, but this article was helpful to allow me to be prepared when I buy this.
    I haven’t played the 1st one (Atlus published for the PS2, right?) and I don’t think #2 came out for the states…
    Thanks for this article, I was wondering what arcanas exactly did…

  • KyoyaHibari

    This in-depth analysis along with an array of varied, flamboyant characters and unique Arcanas are starting to interest me, I should download this!

  • Yesshua

    You know, Aksys is pretty good about providing previews and insight into their games. I appreciate that, and I generally enjoy reading these types of things. I’ve found myself buying some of their games lately too with the Bit.Trip series and 999. Good stuff all around.

    • Glad you enjoy our games and info :D!

  • yay, i loved arcana heart 1 on the ps2, so i’m pretty happy i’ll finally get to play 3 again (it was fun at PAX EAST with aksys’ beautiful custom joysticks)

  • Ultima Arcana

    I love the concept behind the whole Arcana system. Most fighting games either offer too little customization (Ultra select in SSF4, especially since one is usually much better than the other for most characters), too much customization (Dissidia and it’s equipment, accessories, and summons combination that inevitably leads to some pretty broken stuff), or just go about it the completely wrong way (Soul Calibur 4 with it’s “armor effects your stats” route that made your strongest characters look like rejected clowns from out-space).

    The Arcana system seems to strike a finer balance than all of those, allowing you to either further strengthen your character’s strong point, try to cover a potentially weak area, or just mesh well with your particular playstyle. Undeniable some combinations will be stronger than others, but there will still be dozens and dozens of viable compositions. And if you aren’t trying to tier-whore anyway, the possibilities are nearly endless.

  • Darkrise

    I’m still playing the import from time to time so I won’t buy this one imediately. Maybe in a month or something. =/ Either way, my main is Felicia, and second is a little undecided since I choose Scharleschrotte, Weiss, Petra, Fiona and Lieselotte. Ok almost all the characters except Dorothy, Konoha and Kasuga.

    • There’s no “Felicia” in AH3, nub. I lol’d.

  • PrinceHeir

    hell yeah will buy this for sure :)

    this actually reminds me of Melty Blood but with Arcana’s fit for your style ^^

  • Tomorrow is the day of reckoning :3 Get HYPE!

    • Kris

      Hype is got!

    • Code

      What it’s out tomorrow!? *looks at clock* today!? omo that snuck up on me really fast >w<;


  • mikanko

    Here is the guide I plan to follow for AH3.

    Step 1: Pick Petra

    Step 2: Pew Pew

    Step 3: …

    Step 4: Profit!

  • Portal who?

  • fermented

    Very nice short guide to get players familiar with some of the concepts and character archetypes in this game.

    I invite anyone who wants to get more in depth with the game to check out the starter’s guides and wiki on as well as the forums on, ’cause that’s what I’m about to do after I buy this game. =)

    • When I started reading through this article, I immediately thought of the explanation given at Mizuumi. The Arcana Heart series has interested me as a a fighter. The Homing aspect intrigues me. I reckon I might even import this title.

    • We’re going to have much more about Arcana Heart 3 too so please keep an eye out for it :)

  • Ooooor you can give us a video tutorial. ^^

  • Very nice guide! I’m starting today with this game, Aksys pwning this gen!

  • I’m going to use the cutest girl character possible, and is she stinks, move to second cutest until i’m satisifed. Funny i will get this and Mortal Kombat the same day. Quite a dichotomy.

  • Locklear93

    Lilica Felchenrow and Petra Lagerkvist, with their default arcana. Decisions made. Moving on. <_<

    • Holy sucks – it’s the worst arcana ever, lol

      I pity you already, scrub.

  • lol, “Angelica”.

    I’m glad that I order the jp version. Askys’s translation is horrible :p (hello, Light/Blossom arcanas lol)

  • Seems like the game is up on PSN now ;) Download away for Arcana Heart 3 goodness :D!

  • darkfox1

    whaaaaat Fighting game with an all Female Cast??? Why have i not played this game yet?

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